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Thread: Life - out there....

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    This shit just cracks me up....

    Frustratingly, it’s also an example of how science shouldn’t be done. But, by default, it’s also a fine example of how good, skeptical science writing should be done.
    Why start with this and not with Globull Warming???? HUH??? Assholes. lol
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Here's Plaits article. Methinks he doth protest too much....

    UPDATE: No, Life Has Still Not Been Found in a Meteorite

    By Phil Plait
    |
    Posted Monday, March 11, 2013, at 5:42 PM




    Oh boy. Here we go again, again.

    In January, I wrote about Chandra Wickramasinghe, who claimed he had found fossilized diatoms (microscopic plant life) in a meteorite. I showed pretty carefully why this claim is very wrong, but apparently it wasn’t enough: A new paper from Wickramasinghe’s team has been published furthering the claims, and it’s getting picked up by mainstream media.



    Take me to your very, very tiny leader.




    I read the paper, and really it’s more of the same as from the first paper. In some ways, it’s even shakier; they provide lots of technical data that gives their work a veneer of credibility, but when you look a bit deeper you find they didn’t do a lot of critically necessary tests to establish the veracity of their claims. All the technical stuff obfuscates the fact that they missed the boat in some very basic ways.



    In a nutshell, they don’t establish the samples they examined were actually meteorites. They don’t establish they were from the claimed meteor event over Sri Lanka in December 2012. And perhaps most telling, they don’t eliminate the possibility of contamination; that is, diatoms got into the samples because those rocks were sitting on the Earth where diatoms are everywhere.



    There’s more, too, including some unusual methods if you’re trying to establish a paradigm-overthrowing claim: They don’t consult with outside experts (including those in the fields of meteorites and diatoms), they don’t get independent confirmation from an outside lab, and they published in a journal that is, um, somewhat outside the mainstream of science.



    You want details? I got details.




    Great balls of fire!

    In the paper, they first try to establish that the rock sample they have is from a fireball—a very bright meteor—over the province of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka that occurred in the early evening of December 29, 2012. The fireball was witnessed by a large number of people, and there are claims of people getting burned, smelling noxious fumes, and so on.



    Image credits: Earth: ESA/Rosetta; asteroid Mathilde: NASA/NEAR



    I tend to be highly skeptical of claims involving burns and such, since most meteorites are cold upon impact. They spend a lot of time in deep space (where it’s cold) and are only heated briefly (like, for a few seconds at most) as they plow through the atmosphere. Also, the reports of fumes, if true, may have been more from local contamination. That happened in Peru recently after a largish meteorite impacted there, releasing arsenic-tainted ground water.



    All that aside, people then collected black rocks they found in the area. However, there is no real way to establish that the rocks picked up were from this particular fireball. A meteorite was found in the same area back in 2004, for example. It’s entirely possible that any samples examined were from older falls, and not from the 2012 fireball. Wickramasinghe’s team does nothing at all to tie the samples in to that fireball. They just assume the connection, without any proof.



    Meteorwrong

    But there’s more: They still haven’t established this rock is even a meteorite at all! They make this claim many times in the paper, but they do so without firm proof. They examined the rock using various methods, but none of them establish the sample as being a meteorite. Quite the opposite, in fact.



    One method was an oxygen isotope analysis. Basically, there are different isotopes of stable oxygen—ones with eight, nine, or ten neutrons in the atomic nucleus. In general, the ratios of these isotopes will be different from rocks that have origins in different parts of the solar system. If you collect a bunch of Earth rocks and get the ratio, and compare it to the ratios from rocks from, say, Mars, you’ll get different ratios. This allows you in principle to say that a given rock must not have formed on Earth.

    Wickramasinghe’s team did this analysis, and found the ratios from their sample differ from the Earth standard. They then claim, “We conclude that the oxygen isotope data show [our samples] are unequivocally meteorites”.



    But wait! Is that true? [Spoiler: no.]

    One of the very un-meteorite-like samples in question.
    Image credit: Wickramasinghe, et al.




    To find out, I talked to planetary scientist Barbara Cohen, who studies meteorites at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. She told me the data in the paper is “suggestive”, but not conclusive at all. At best it should be followed up with other tests, because it’s not hard at all to throw that test off.



    For example, carbonates are molecules that are oxygen-rich and can form quite quickly on a meteorite sitting on the ground. Carbonates will change the oxygen isotope ratio, and can make an ordinary rock look extraterrestrial. Dr. Cohen told me there are ways of compensating for it, like washing the samples in a solution of acetic or hydrochloric acid; that dissolves the carbonates away. This is a very standard procedure meteorite scientists do before examining the chemical composition of suspected meteorites.


    In the paper by Wickramasinghe’s team, they give a detailed description of how they prepped the samples, and nowhere do they mention this procedure to minimize carbonate contamination.



    Perhaps they forgot to mention it. But even if they had, the non-standard oxygen isotope ratio is not proof of extraterrestriality, it just isn’t necessarily inconsistent with it. So really, their claim that the isotope ratio proves “unequivocally” these are meteorites is wrong, plain and simple.



    There are other simple procedures that should be done to establish authenticity, but none is mentioned in the paper. For example, they should be examining the “mineral assemblages”, the groupings of minerals in the rock. This can help establish the geologic history of the sample, which is pretty standard for meteorite analysis. But they didn't do this or really very much else to establish an off-world origin for their samples.



    And finally, they say that the samples are 85-95 percent amorphous (non-crystalline) silica. However, as Cohen pointed out to me, no meteorite known has that much silica in it, let alone one of the kind they claim (a carbonaceous chondrite). That by itself is enough to show their rock is almost certainly not a meteorite. As Cohen told me, “You need to start off establishing this is a meteorite, but they have not done that.”



    And again, let me point out that they didn’t go to an outside lab to substantiate their results. Not their conclusions, just their data. It’s no hardship to chisel off a piece of a rock and send it to a lab for analysis; they did it for themselves, so why not get someone else to do it as well?



    Nor did they do this for their diatom samples. It’s odd that they’re making claims about diatoms in a meteorite, but didn’t go to any outside experts in either diatoms or meteorites. I’d want to do that even if my claims were rather mundane. But given the magnitude of what they’re saying?



    Decontamination

    I mentioned that their analysis doesn’t seem to include any efforts at decontamination. That’s true for carbonate contamination, but it’s also true for biological contamination. If you’re claiming you found diatoms in a meteorite, you’d better have incredibly tight constraints on contamination. Yet they produce none. In fact, in the very first paragraph of their paper they say some samples were found in a rice field! Not to put too fine a point on it, these are known to be rather wet areas, with lots of little critters swimming in the water. There was little or no control at all on how these samples were obtained.



    Also, Wickramasinghe’s team claims they found diatoms deep inside the samples, and therefore can’t be contaminated. But this is incorrect. I’ve talked to biologists who look for life in rocks, and they say that contamination is a huge problem. These buggers are small and can find their ways into the smallest cracks and fissures. I’ll note the samples Wickramasinghe’s team examined are riddled with vesicles, tiny bubbles in the rock. That is a pretty convenient pathway for life to wiggle through.



    Bass Ackwards

    Meteorite? Or meteorwrong? Image credit: Wickramasinghe, et al.




    So, they find some rocks, they claim (without enough evidence) that they're meteorites, and they claim (without evidence) they're from a recent meteorite fall. They find diatoms, and they claim (without controlling for contamination) that not only these diatoms came from space, but that meteorites like this seeded Earth with life.



    Which is more likely: that, or that they found a rock from Earth that already had diatoms in it? Just like essentially any porous rock you find in a wet area?



    Mind you, at the end of a previous paper, they claimed they found living diatoms deep inside the meteorite. Living, as in alive. When we know there are already quadrillions of such beasties everywhere on planet Earth.



    Their claims are, down to a one, extraordinary, with pretty underwhelming evidence to support them. So the idea that these are ordinary rocks found in wet conditions under no control that have been sitting around a long time and are therefore loaded with diatoms that evolved here on good ol’ planet Earth seems just a tad more likely to me.



    In my opinion, Wickramasinghe and his team are not just wrong, they are precisely wrong: Life didn’t crawl from this rock onto the Earth, life crawled into this rock from the Earth.



    A living diatom found in the sample. Image credit: Wickramasinghe, et al.




    I’m not saying aliens, but aliens.


    So it’s pretty clear that at best, given the evidence they themselves present, even stating these samples are meteorites at all is shaky, and it doesn’t get any better from there.



    And once again, I feel obligated to point out that Wickramasinghe has a history of making extraordinary claims based on evidence that doesn’t support them…and then publishing these claims in a journal (the “Journal of Cosmology”) which has a less-than-stellar reputation. I give plenty of details about that in the previous article I wrote about this claim. And I’ll note as I did in the previous post that this is not really an argumentum ad hominem, but more of a meta-argument made on past behavior; if someone has a long record of making nonsubstantiated claims, you really do need to keep that in mind when examining the latest one. It doesn’t mean the claim is wrong, but it does mean you should be extra wary.



    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Here we have one, but we most certainly do not have the other.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    I call BULLSHIT on Plait, and here is why. The paper SPECIFICALLY talks about the samples:

    2. Samples

    During the days and weeks that followed the initial collection of material in Polonnaruwa by local police officials, large quantities of stone artifacts were recovered from the rice fields in the vicinity of Aralaganwila and submitted for analysis. These included substantial quantities of stones recovered by the Department of Geology, University of Peradeniya as well as 628 separate fragments that were collected about a month later and subsequently submitted to us. The task of identifying broken fragments of meteorite from a mass of other stones was not easy. Of the 628 pieces examined, only three were clearly identified as possible meteorites after comparison with the original stones collected on the 29th December 2012. Of the samples rejected for further study, most were either, indigenous terrestrial stones, masonry composites or by-products of industrial processes. In addition to the above, a number of further samples were collected by us during a site visit on the 29th January 2013. These fragments were visibly different to the rejected material: they showed evidence of a partial, moderately thick fusion crust (0.25-0.5mm) with fractured surfaces exhibiting a highly porous composite structure characteristic of a carbonaceous chondrite, with fine grained olivine aggregates connected with mineral intergrowths. These samples were stored in sealed glass vials for later analysis.

    For the purpose of this study, one of the original samples submitted by the Medical Research Institute in Colombo was selected for analysis. This fragment was portioned for interior section Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), oxygen isotope analysis, compositional analysis by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and elemental analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES).

    In addition to the portioned fragment, a sample of sand fulgurite was also analysed for comparative purposes together with a soil sample recovered from the fall site and a further sample of calcium-rich terrestrial rock selected for control purposes. Preliminary oxygen and carbon isotope analysis of the calcium rich control sample produced values of δ13C = -9.716 0.02 and δ18O = -6.488 0.04 which accord well with the values for soil carbonates determined by T.E. Cerling and J. Quade, 1993.

    ----

    For anyone that doesn't know carbonaceous chondrite are a class of meteorite (a meteor being a rock we see flying through the atmosphere and burning up, a meteorite ultimately is a meteor that hits the ground). They are a very TINY percentage of the number of meteorites that can be found on the ground on the planet. They contain quantities of organic compounds, oxygen and water - from space, not just from "sitting on the ground".

    While I don't question Plait's knowledge of science usually, I DO question his bias. And he's about as biased as can be. I find it amazing that the very IDEA of life from space (alien life) to him is absolutely repulsive. This is coming from a man who is about as anti-Christian as one can get without being a Muslim (and I guess I don't know that he isn't a Muslim, though I've never noted him yelling Allah Ackbar! in his dissertations yet).
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    For anyone who can't GRASP this is "biological" take a look. It's PART of the rock and it's definitely a meteorite (I've seen enough of them to be able to ID them myself now)
    check this out.




    Figure 4 Shows a highly carbonaceous partially degraded biological structure. Note the apparent fracture from the surrounding mineral matrix along the leading edge. Points S1, S2 and S3 correspond to elemental abundances determined by EDX as detailed in Table 2 and Figure 5

    S1.... that isn't a naturally formed rock. S2 and S3 I can't identify myself, but S1 is NOT a piece of rock. Period.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Oops sorry, the images didn't show. Go download the PDF and look at it. You can see them there.
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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Quoting myself in the bottom for a reason.... I've pretty much preached this for years and years, probably since I was a kid and realized that comets were big balls of dirt, water and slop that hit Earth, sometimes being preserved to hit the planet. Now, people are "getting it".... Duh. Now I've mentioned panspermia LONG before 2010 in fact and I don't remember when or where I wrote it, but I talked about comets and water, gases and minerals combining to form building blocks of life. Guess I should have wrote a paper on it... /shrug

    It's a shock: Life on Earth may have come from out of this world

    Tue, 09/17/2013 - 11:23am



    EurekAlert!







    A group of international scientists including a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher have confirmed that life really could have come from out of this world.


    The team shock compressed an icy mixture, similar to what is found in comets, which then created a number of amino acids – the building blocks of life. The research appears in advanced online publication Sept. 15 on the Nature Geosciences journal website.


    This is the first experimental confirmation of what LLNL scientist Nir Goldman first predicted in 2010 and again in 2013 using computer simulations performed on LLNL's supercomputers, including Rzcereal and Aztec.


    Goldman's initial research found that the impact of icy comets crashing into Earth billions of years ago could have produced a variety of prebiotic or life-building compounds, including amino acids. Amino acids are critical to life and serve as the building blocks of proteins. His work predicted that the simple molecules found in comets (such as water, ammonia, methanol and carbon dioxide) could have supplied the raw materials, and the impact with early Earth would have yielded an abundant supply of energy to drive this prebiotic chemistry.


    In the new work, collaborators from Imperial College in London and University of Kent conducted a series of experiments very similar to Goldman's previous simulations in which a projectile was fired using a light gas gun into a typical cometary ice mixture. The result: Several different types of amino acids formed.


    "These results confirm our earlier predictions of impact synthesis of prebiotic material, where the impact itself can yield life-building compounds," Goldman said. "Our work provides a realistic additional synthetic production pathway for the components of proteins in our solar system, expanding the inventory of locations where life could potentially originate."


    Comets are known to harbor simple ices and the organic precursors of amino acids. Glycine – the simplest amino acid – was recently confirmed to be present in comet Wild-2.


    Goldman's original work used molecular dynamics simulations to show that shock waves due to planetary impact passing into representative comet mixtures could theoretically drive amino acid synthesis. This synthetic mechanism could yield a wide variety of prebiotic molecules at realistic impact conditions, independent of the external features or pre-existing chemical environment on a planet.


    "These results present a significant step forward in our understanding of the origin of the building blocks of life," Goldman said.


    The team found that icy bodies with the same compounds created from comet impacts also may be found in the outer solar system. For example, Encleadus (one of Saturn's moons) contains a mix of light organics and water ice. The team concluded that it is highly probable that the impact of a comet traveling with a high enough velocity would impart enough energy to promote shock synthesis of more complex organic compounds, including amino acids, from these ices.


    "This increases the chances of life originating and being widespread throughout our solar system," Goldman said.

    Original release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-ias091613.php









    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post

    January 26th, 2012, 14:56

    Don't get me wrong here, Peterle, I have an open mind about this as well.

    In fact, I'd almost bet MONEY on the fact there IS life on Mars and we will find it. It will like be microbial but life, never the less.

    My belief, theory, whatever you want to call it is that "Panspermia" is the device through which life is spread from planet to planet through out the universe.

    I think the building blocks were created when stars were created, gaseous clouds with the proper chemicals collected into heavier balls of matter and eventually became part of other masses, like rocks.

    Comets bombarded our planet (and others in our own solar system) for millions of years delivering water, other minerals, gases, chemicals and compounds. Eventually something had to "grow" out of the mess.

    I suspect Mars was once not as lifeless as it appears now. In fact, I'm of a belief that Mars is actually a MOON of a now non-existent planet. The planet's remains orbit a bit further out between Mars and Jupiter.

    So I think even the Moon has or had life on it at one time.

    Doesn't mean we need water for life.

    Doesn't mean we need heat.

    Proof of this can be found in several places (as the Russians pointed out) in the very hot underwater calderas with all sorts of things living nearby (but not necessarily IN) the heat.

    If I'm not mistaken they have found microbes living in deep, dark places where nothing ought to be living at ALL. It just goes to prove that life starts easily (or perhaps God put it there? Who knows) but it doesn't DIE easily either!

    We still have dinosaurs on this planet.

    They are called "crockadiles" and "sharks" and bacteria that existed as far back and 600,000 years ago:

    Photo: BioPediaSiberian Actinobacteria - 400,000 to 600,000 years old

    There's also the Horseshoe Crab which has been found in fossils from the Ordovician period.

    So - I don't think that life out there doesn't exist at ALL, I think it exists in abundance.

    I'm merely saying that "life as WE know it" - that is life based on Carbon, like us, and every other critter on this planet with the noted exception of certain types of bacteria - the "arsenic based" ones, some marine alges use aresnic as well, and viruses - which technically aren't life forms anyway.

    I guess we might actually overlook or not recognize something that is a non-carbon based creature because we wouldn't know what we were looking at.

    Sagan, among others, postulated there might be strange creatures like floating airbags in the atmosphere of Jupiter. Something like giant "blimps" - and likely there would some kind of flying predator that might swoop in and kill the "cow" type creatures who were just big, slow and floating airbags....

    Anyway - life exists out there. No DOUBT in my mind. Just not carbon based scorpions on Venus. (I'd say Mars has a GOOD chance of something like that, but certainly NOT Venus).

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    .


    Some meteorites found on earth are from Mars.


    .

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    I know that, actually.

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    .

    Back in 2007 when Comet Holmes unexpectedly flared in "Perseus' arm"
    [actually it was in the asteroid belt] I emailed my brother [deep space
    scientist/comet expert] and asked him about it.

    Two weeks went by with no response... then out of the blue he sent
    me an email telling me the info I had asked for is at this link.


    http://www.space.com/businesstechnol...s-lessons.html


    A week after that he returns my email... "Re: Comet Holmes"
    and cced other scientists. This email was also brief with one link.

    He said: " Note the second half of this essay. "


    http://www.space.com/searchforlife/0...ens-apart.html


    The article has nothing to do with Comet Holmes... but in the second half
    it [jokingly] mentions aliens wreaking havoc in "Perseus' arm."



    .

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    "It's a shock: Life on Earth may have come from out of this world "


    How about standing this 'Panspermia' idea on it's ear; maybe Earth is the Panspermian Origin of all life in the Universe, as all we can prove at present is that life only is known to exist on Earth?

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Stand all you want. How does it get off Earth and into space, intact?

    Answer: It doesn't.

    I think the point of panspermia is that life didn't really "come" from out there specifically. It came in puzzle pieces that put themselves together chemically in the Earth environment - which happens to be conducive to life. The chemistry of amino acids are what makes life happen on the most basic level. RNA and DNA make up life as we know it - functional, higher order life from bacterium to bananas and bunny rabbits. Viruses in general use only RNA to do the encoding that makes up what they are - and inserts it into living cells to "reprogram" those living cells.

    Life as we know it probably doesn't crash here on comets - rather the chemistry itself comes down here.

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    Stand all you want. How does it get off Earth and into space, intact?

    Answer: It doesn't.

    I think the point of panspermia is that life didn't really "come" from out there specifically. It came in puzzle pieces that put themselves together chemically in the Earth environment - which happens to be conducive to life. The chemistry of amino acids are what makes life happen on the most basic level. RNA and DNA make up life as we know it - functional, higher order life from bacterium to bananas and bunny rabbits. Viruses in general use only RNA to do the encoding that makes up what they are - and inserts it into living cells to "reprogram" those living cells.

    Life as we know it probably doesn't crash here on comets - rather the chemistry itself comes down here.

    "Stand all you want. How does it get off Earth and into space, intact?
    "

    How does it get off extraterrestrial worlds and objects and into space? The same way, and you'd be amazed at what could survive, the same amazement we're expected to have at the survival of 'Martian' microbes. I have little doubt we'll eventually find a number of earth-origin lifeforms, identifiable as such, on Mars and other worlds.

    "Answer: It doesn't.
    "

    Answer: Bears .



    "I think the point of panspermia is that life didn't really "come" from out there specifically. It came in puzzle pieces that put themselves together chemically in the Earth environment - which happens to be conducive to life.
    "

    The Earth Environment doesn't just 'happen to be conducive to life', it's the only place in the universe proven to have originated life to begin with, you can't logically argue from 'absence of evidence' and ignore the only facts you literally have on the ground around you.

    "The chemistry of amino acids are what makes life happen on the most basic level.
    "

    Which chemistry is only proven to occur in testable, repeatable fashion only on Earth.

    "RNA and DNA make up life as we know it - functional, higher order life from bacterium to bananas and bunny rabbits.
    "

    'Life as we know it', which already admits Earth defines the only known parameters of presently scientifically observable Life.

    "Viruses in general use only RNA to do the encoding that makes up what they are - and inserts it into living cells to "reprogram" those living cells.
    "

    Can't imagine that just happening, things like these with such an intelligible purpose of 'reprogramming', but on so many issues I lack the imagination others do.



    "Life as we know it probably doesn't crash here on comets - rather the chemistry itself comes down here."



    Why not something more purposeful, and in reverse?











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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorongil2012 View Post

    "Stand all you want. How does it get off Earth and into space, intact?
    "

    How does it get off extraterrestrial worlds and objects and into space? The same way, and you'd be amazed at what could survive, the same amazement we're expected to have at the survival of 'Martian' microbes. I have little doubt we'll eventually find a number of earth-origin lifeforms, identifiable as such, on Mars and other worlds.

    "Answer: It doesn't.
    "

    Answer: Bears .



    "I think the point of panspermia is that life didn't really "come" from out there specifically. It came in puzzle pieces that put themselves together chemically in the Earth environment - which happens to be conducive to life.
    "

    The Earth Environment doesn't just 'happen to be conducive to life', it's the only place in the universe proven to have originated life to begin with, you can't logically argue from 'absence of evidence' and ignore the only facts you literally have on the ground around you.

    You missed the point. It doesn't START on other planets.

    "The chemistry of amino acids are what makes life happen on the most basic level."

    Which chemistry is only proven to occur in testable, repeatable fashion only on Earth.
    How do you know? You're assuming. When you create the exact conditions that existed millions of years before life was here and pour the right concoctions together - life happens. Or at least the building blocks put themselves together.

    "RNA and DNA make up life as we know it - functional, higher order life from bacterium to bananas and bunny rabbits.
    "

    'Life as we know it', which already admits Earth defines the only known parameters of presently scientifically observable Life.
    Life as we know it defines what we know about life here. But it also defined by chemistry. Sorry that doesn't change in outerspace, and it won't change on planets that are like Earth. Now if there is some other type of life form out there (say silicon based, or some kind of weird gaseous cloud thing, well, we don't have the right conditions available here to prove it - and we can only guess at it right now).


    "Viruses in general use only RNA to do the encoding that makes up what they are - and inserts it into living cells to "reprogram" those living cells.
    "

    Can't imagine that just happening, things like these with such an intelligible purpose of 'reprogramming', but on so many issues I lack the imagination others do.
    You don't have to imagine it. Read a little bit about viruses. Viruses do precisely what I said.



    "Life as we know it probably doesn't crash here on comets - rather the chemistry itself comes down here."



    Why not something more purposeful, and in reverse?





    Where did you get the idea I was ruling out "something more purposeful"? I didn't... in fact I've stated quite clearly elsewhere (yesterday in fact) what I think about Creationism and Darwinism....

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    'Alien Life' Claim Far From Convincing, Astronomy Experts Say

    The Huffington Post | By Macrina Cooper-White Posted: 09/20/2013 11:49 am EDT | Updated: 09/20/2013 12:31 pm EDT Have scientists found alien life in our atmosphere?
    Researchers from the University of Sheffield in England think so. They reported that tiny organisms that came back aboard a balloon sent high into the stratosphere are too big to have floated up from the surface of our planet.

    A scanning electron micrograph of one of the diatoms found on a microscope stub aboard the balloon.



    “In the absence of a mechanism by which large particles like these can be transported to the stratosphere we can only conclude that the biological entities originated from space," Dr. Milton Wainwright, astrobiology professor at the university, said in a written statement. "Our conclusion then is that life is continually arriving to Earth from space, life is not restricted to this planet and it almost certainly did not originate here.”


    Wainwright told The Independent that he's 95 percent certain the organisms come from space.



    But other scientists aren't so sure.


    "I'm very skeptical," Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer with the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute, told The Huffington Post in an email. "This claim has been made before, and dismissed as terrestrial contamination."


    The researchers said they took precautions to avoid picking up bits of terrestrial life during the experiment. Microscope stubs on the balloon were exposed to the atmosphere only at altitudes of 22 to 27 kilometers (13.7 to 16.8 miles). They acknowledged that there could be some mechanism for transporting large particles high into the atmosphere. But since no such mechanism has been discovered, they said, the next likely explanation is that the "diatoms" come from space.
    Still, other experts say there's simply not enough evidence.


    "They should try a lot harder to look for more mundane ways this beastie made it up there," astronomer Dr. Philip Plait wrote for Slate magazine. "They dismiss other pathways, just stating they won’t work, but I’m unconvinced... In other words, if they can’t figure it out, it must be aliens. This 'god of the gaps' argument leaves me underwhelmed."


    It's not the first time the Sheffield team has come under fire. Astrobiologist Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, another member of the research team, was criticized back in January for reporting that fossils inside a meteorite discovered in Sri Lanka were proof of extraterrestrial life.
    Wickramasinghe believes the organisms found in Earth's stratosphere may have hitched a ride aboard meteors from other planets, suggesting that life exists in other parts of the galaxy, as reported by the University Herald.


    The new findings were published in the Journal of Cosmology -- which itself has been viewed skeptically by some scientists. Dr. Sean Carroll, an astrophysicist at Caltech, told The Huffington Post in an email that it "is not a serious journal."


    Wainwright said the next step would be to perform "isotope fractionation" on the sample recovered from the balloon -- essentially, analyzing the ratio of certain carbon isotopes in the organisms to determine their origins. The team hopes to confirm their findings by repeating the experiment in October during the Halley's comet meteor shower.


    “If life does continue to arrive from space then we have to completely change our view of biology and evolution,” Wainwright said. “New textbooks will have to be written!”
    If the team compiles enough evidence to convert the skeptics, that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    You missed the point. It doesn't START on other planets.



    How do you know? You're assuming. When you create the exact conditions that existed millions of years before life was here and pour the right concoctions together - life happens. Or at least the building blocks put themselves together.
    [B]


    Life as we know it defines what we know about life here. But it also defined by chemistry. Sorry that doesn't change in outerspace, and it won't change on planets that are like Earth. Now if there is some other type of life form out there (say silicon based, or some kind of weird gaseous cloud thing, well, we don't have the right conditions available here to prove it - and we can only guess at it right now).

    [B]


    You don't have to imagine it. Read a little bit about viruses. Viruses do precisely what I said.





    [/I]


    Where did you get the idea I was ruling out "something more purposeful"? I didn't... in fact I've stated quite clearly elsewhere (yesterday in fact) what I think about Creationism and Darwinism....

    "You missed the point. It doesn't START on other planets.
    "

    No, didn't miss the point, because the whole genesis of the 'Panspermia' idea was to try to not have to account for the origin of life on Earth in a particular point in time, but to 'put it off' to some other nebulous and unknown agency 'out there', instead of dealing with the facts that as i've said are literally 'on the ground'.

    "How do you know? You're assuming. When you create the exact conditions that existed millions of years before life was here and pour the right concoctions together - life happens. Or at least the building blocks put themselves together.
    "

    Not assuming at all, because as you say;

    "When you create the exact conditions that existed millions of years before life was here and pour the right concoctions together - life happens."

    That of course is the very reasonable assumption of intelligent Agency acting upon the right resources to achieve a desired goal. We do it all the time and know we live in an intelligible universe, so....


    "Life as we know it defines what we know about life here.
    "

    Exactly, because Earth is the only observable laboratory for Life known, all we can scientifically show so far is that Life only exists here, which uniqueness begs the question that only Philosophy or Religion can answer.


    "But it also defined by chemistry.
    "

    Absolutely certain that Physics or Chemistry works exactly as it does here on Earth?


    "Sorry that doesn't change in outerspace, and it won't change on planets that are like Earth. Now if there is some other type of life form out there (say silicon based, or some kind of weird gaseous cloud thing, well, we don't have the right conditions available here to prove it - and we can only guess at it right now)."

    So it's safe to say that the more we know, the less we actually know, I can live with that.

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    Your last statement is true, the more know we know, the more we know a lot less than we think. However, chemistry and physics works the same here as it does out there.

    Unless we can discover, say silicone based life forms close to earth we can only postulate they might exist, just as there might be "gas bag creatures" on Jupiter, but we don't know.

    I'm not sure it is "reasonable" to assume "intelligent agency" acting up on the right resources. You're again, assuming that some etraterrestrial thing, someone, or some supernatural being is acting. "Intelligent" life - whether real or supernatural must rightly be assumed to have thinking capabilities, the ability to use tools and to reason problems out to an ultimate conclusion. Why would it be unreasonable to assume "intelligent agency" in the case of Panspermia? Because frankly we're talking about random incidents of rocks, asteroids and comets that just HAPPEN to hit the planet.

    Space is a bloody large place out there. Very, very large. There are plenty of random rocks that do NOT hit Earth. There's plenty that do. You are presupposing that an intelligent being has 1) the ability to discern which rocks to send, 2) Which rocks will support the right quantitites and types of chemistry to plant life, 3) to have the ability to impart enough energy to those rocks and aim them at Earth, and to 4) aim them so that they will land here thousands or millions of years later after a long trek through space.

    In other words, you're talking about an "all powerful being".

    So, let's assume God.

    Who created God?

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    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    Your last statement is true, the more know we know, the more we know a lot less than we think. However, chemistry and physics works the same here as it does out there.

    Unless we can discover, say silicone based life forms close to earth we can only postulate they might exist, just as there might be "gas bag creatures" on Jupiter, but we don't know.

    I'm not sure it is "reasonable" to assume "intelligent agency" acting up on the right resources. You're again, assuming that some etraterrestrial thing, someone, or some supernatural being is acting. "Intelligent" life - whether real or supernatural must rightly be assumed to have thinking capabilities, the ability to use tools and to reason problems out to an ultimate conclusion. Why would it be unreasonable to assume "intelligent agency" in the case of Panspermia? Because frankly we're talking about random incidents of rocks, asteroids and comets that just HAPPEN to hit the planet.

    Space is a bloody large place out there. Very, very large. There are plenty of random rocks that do NOT hit Earth. There's plenty that do. You are presupposing that an intelligent being has 1) the ability to discern which rocks to send, 2) Which rocks will support the right quantitites and types of chemistry to plant life, 3) to have the ability to impart enough energy to those rocks and aim them at Earth, and to 4) aim them so that they will land here thousands or millions of years later after a long trek through space.

    In other words, you're talking about an "all powerful being".

    So, let's assume God.

    Who created God?

    "So, let's assume God.

    Who created God?
    "



    See, that's a philosophical question, not a scientific one. Philosophically it's incorrect to ask if 'Who Created God?', because God is by definition the Uncaused Cause and the Ground of Being, in fact, 'Being' itself, from which our 'beingness' is derived.

    Is there 'random' Chance in the Universe? Why not? God if He exists is totally free, so I can easily even see a totally new post-Einsteinian, post Quantum Physics scientific paradigm arising in which there is such a revolution in thinking that it parallels the change from Aristotlean/Ptolomaic Geocentrism to Galilean Heliocentrism.

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    No, this is where people confuse science and the supernatural.

    God does not have to be "Intelligent Design" or a "Being" or a "reasoning intelligence".

    Physics might be God.

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    Default Re: Life - out there....

    New Theory Explains Seeds Of Life In Asteroids; Disputes Theory Taught In Schools For Decades

    By Rebekah Marcarelli r.marcarelli@hngn.com | Oct 02, 2013 01:30 PM EDT


    The "seeds of life" may have originated in the Asteroid Belt. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)



    A new study gives a new explanation for how the "seeds of life" were able to form inside of asteroids.


    The researchers believe their conclusions will replace the outdated theory of how biomolecules form, a Rensselaur press release reported.


    The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is now a dry and barren wasteland, but researchers believed it was once wet, warm, and perfect for spawning biomolecules.

    Scientists have found traces of these organisms in rocks from the asteroid belt, meaning the conditions must have been favorable for the biomolecule's growth.


    "The early sun was actually dimmer than the sun today, so in terms of sunlight, the asteroid belt would have been even colder than it is now. And yet we know that some asteroids were heated to the temperature of liquid water, the 'goldilocks zone,' which enabled some of these interesting biomolecules to form," Wayne Roberge, a professor of physics within the School of Science at Rensselaer, and member of the New York Center for Astrobiology, who co-authored a paper on the subject, said. "Here's the question: How could that have happened? How could that environment have existed inside an asteroid?"


    There are two commonly taught theories on how asteroids could have been heated, one claims the area heated in a way similar to the Earth's core, and the other theory involves interactions between plasma and magnetic fields.


    The researcher's new theory claims that when an asteroid moves through a magnetic field it experiences and electric field, which would push electric currents through the asteroid and heat it.


    "It's a very clever idea, and the mechanism is viable, but the problem is that they made a subtle error in how it should be applied, and that's what we correct in this paper," Roberge said. "In our work, we correct the physics, and also apply it to a more modern understanding of the young solar system."


    "The mechanism requires some extreme assumptions about the young solar system," Ray Menzel, a graduate student in physics and co-author, said. "They assumed some things about what the young sun was doing which are just not believed to be true today. For example, the young sun would have had to produce a powerful solar wind which blew past the asteroids, and that's just no longer believed to be true."


    The solar winds and plasma stream are not believed to have been as strong as scientists once thought.


    "We've calculated the electric field everywhere, including the interior of the asteroid," Roberge said. "How that electric field comes about is a very specialized thing; about 10 people in the world study that kind of physics. Fortunately, two of them are here at RPI working together."


    One mechanism in the process is called multi-fluid magneto-hydrodynamics. Magneto-hydrodynamics is the study of how charged fluids such as plasma interact with magnetic fields.


    "The neutral particles interact with the charged particles by friction," Menzel said. "So this creates a complex problem of treating the dynamics of the neutral gas and allowing for the presence of the small number of charged particles interacting with the magnetic field."


    "We're just at the beginning of this. It would be wrong to assert that we've solved this problem," Roberge said. "What we've done is to introduce a new idea. But through observations and theoretical work, we know have a pretty good paradigm."

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